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Ministry announces final decision on Change Programme

Ministry announces final decision on Change Programme

17 May 2012

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade announced today the final decision on its change programme.

Chief Executive John Allen says the decision will enable flexibility and focus in New Zealand’s representation overseas. It will also modernise administration processes and help to develop deeper expertise and specialist knowledge.

“The Ministry will be better placed to deliver on the Government’s priorities by focusing our operations in markets that are important to New Zealand’s interests.

“The decision will also provide opportunities for talented staff to progress their Foreign Service career,” Mr Allen said.

Mr Allen says the decision is the result of a genuine and thorough consultation with staff, which has resulted in changes to the original proposals.

There will be fewer job losses and once the changes have been implemented there will be 23 fewer foreign policy staff and 56 fewer corporate services staff.

Changes to the outsourcing proposals mean that the number of local staff working at most NZ Embassies and High Commissions will remain substantially the same in the medium term. We will implement modernising technology and processes and work with Ambassadors and High Commissioners to determine what this will mean for local staffing at each Post.

The Ministry has also revised its allowances packages from those originally proposed to ensure that postings overseas remain attractive to staff.

“The Ministry will have a more efficient organisation with Heads of Missions having greater responsibility over their own areas of control.”

The change programme and on-going cost saving initiatives are on track to deliver $24 million per year. The cost of the change programme will be recovered in the first year,” Mr Allen said.

The devolution of budget decision-making to Heads of Missions is expected to provide further cost savings.

“The process has been a challenging one, but now that the change programme is confirmed and staff will have greater certainty, we can move forward,” Mr Allen said.


Further information

What has changed from the original proposals provided to staff in February?

We have reassessed the number of policy positions required in light of staff feedback and strategic priorities.
A rotational model for junior foreign policy staff will continue, enabling them to build generic skills and gain a wide range of experience before they choose to apply for more specialist senior and management roles.
Adjustments have been made to remuneration proposals to ensure that overseas postings remain attractive for staff, including incentives to encourage staff with families to be posted.
The proposed outsourcing of property management will be trialled in Europe only.
As a result of changes made to the proposals, fewer people will be impacted.

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